The visiting young teens giggled at my gesture toward the man when I called him “gwapo,” their word for handsome. His eyes twinkled at me, his new bride of less than three months.
When he left the house on an errand, their questions became more serious, “Your husband…before Sir Roland…what did he look like?” I showed them a picture of my son, Aaron.
“When he was younger, he looked a lot like this son.”
I think they tried to picture him in their minds and feel the sadness their new friend must have felt. “What did he die from?”
I purposely made it simple, “He had a heart attack.” They again nodded their heads in acknowledgement of my loss. Their countenance was sad.
I changed the subject and told them a story, but I knew their hearts were not settled. The questions would return.
A few days later the questions were in my face. The mine field lay ahead of me. “Walk carefully, Faylene,” I told myself, not just for these tender hearts but also for my own. They wanted to talk about her, the man’s late wife, Linda, their friend and “mother” they loved. They wanted to talk and remember.
Somehow, they felt I might be able to understand their mixed feelings: first, their broken heart; then the very special last visit from Sir Roland, who came alone and became even more of a “father” to them; and now, the appearance of his new wife into their world. I thought we had become friends quickly, but still the questions tumbled around in those little minds that loved deeply and felt such pain of loss.
For me, the joy filled thrill and excitement of new love and adventure ahead was enough. I felt I could stay in this present blessing for the rest of my life, just as I had wanted to stay on the honeymoon, forever. The first three months as husband and wife, however, had also been mixed with the stark reality of past love and tragic loss not of our choosing. Now, the innocent questions were asking me to walk where I was again unsure of a clear path.
Ahead of the promise we made to each other before God, friends and family on that beautiful day in June, we both gained counsel from those who had walked the mine field before us. My friends assured me the chance to love again was worth it, and the Lord would keep us safe no matter the difficulty other people might have with our steps away from sorrow into joy. The man, too, had similar counsel and wisdom about handling emotions and the disposal of things gently.
I was not prepared, however, for the feelings I had of being in “her house,” or questions of inadequacy or comparison as I made the trip with him to the Philippines. And, the man had to face the house I left in Indiana along with friends and family in Missouri. Not everything was smooth. Not everyone was welcoming. Amidst the tears and many heart-to-heart conversations and prayer, our marriage became stronger.
So, I looked into the eyes of the sweet Philippine friends and stated sincerely, “I understand the loss you feel.”
“Yes. Linda was my friend, too.” I had not mourned the loss of my longtime friend for many months. We cried together. Cleansing tears. We were sharing our loss together…me and my new friends. Hearts settled out. All hearts.
“Thank you, Lord. One day you will wipe away all separation and dry every tear. I look forward to that day!”
The man returned to happy smiles and hugs before the girls left. His eyes twinkled at me, and I returned the twinkle. He really is so gwapo!
“He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8 NKJV
The deep pain of loss is real. It is something to be acknowledged and worked through with the Lord. He understands. He cares. And one day He’s going to fix it from ever happening again!
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
If your desire is to know more about the depth of His comfort, we would love to dialog with you.